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Davis Sirus transforms into a relentless and witty reporter to mock the Westboro Baptist Church group (owners of the notorious www.godhatesfags.com domain) in counter-protests.
If Dave Sirus ever puts a microphone in your face, be very careful what you say.
That’s because Sirus is a comedian who, under the moniker of “reporter” Brick Stone, confuses and mocks people who may or may not deserve it with razor-sharp wit and sarcasm so layered you may feel bad for his victims, even when those victims were clearly asking for it.
Sirushad been doing the “gotcha” reporter bit since he was a college student in the late 90s, so when he learned the Westboro Baptist Church was planning to protest the Jewish Federation a mile from his home in Los Angeles, he decided to do something entirely new with the character—make fun of someone who actually deserved it.
The Westboro Baptist Church is a small group out of Kansas led by Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley. The group has become famous for protesting funerals, synagogues, and churches with signs reading “God Hates Fags,” “Jews Killed Jesus,” and “America is Doomed.” Westboro members claim they are doing God’s work by telling everyone who is not a member of their church—including the parents of murdered children—that God hates them.
In a role reversal for Sirus, JointMedia News Service interrogated the comedian during this recent interview.
What made you decide to counter-protest the Westboro Baptist Church?
“I had interviewed the leader of the church, Shirley Roper, years before on the Conte and Kenny radio show and felt a deep sense of pride in how frustrated she became at some of my questions. About a year ago though I learned they were going to stage multiple protests in Los Angeles, mostly at Jewish organizations, and I felt my ability to confuse and anger people could go to good use against them.”
What are some of the questions that you asked?
“‘If you hate gays, why are you holding the sign that way?’ ‘Is there a separate hell for gays or is straight hell gay heaven?’ ‘Which one of Fred’s wives are you?’ One time I dressed up like Harry Potter and said, ‘Quick, I’ve created a potion that makes it so only sodomites can see me, did it work?’ We’re talking about people who truly believe that heaven is empty right now because none of them have died yet, so it’s not that hard to make them look stupid.”
How do they usually react?
“They try to think of comebacks but eventually get tired of being embarrassed and just leave or start singing.
They seem to love Lady Gaga because they’re constantly singing parodies of her songs, even though they keep calling her a whore who’s going to hell; I think it’s just how the young ones trick their parents into letting them listen to her in the first place.”
Are the younger members different?
“I know it sounds crazy but I think some of them are flirting with me, specifically, Sarah, Megan, and Jacob. To be fair though, it’s probably because they’re not used to getting attention from men outside their own family.”
Who else do they hate?
“Catholics, woman teachers, all currently existing countries, people who have premarital sex (except for the leader of the church, Shirley Roper, who herself has an out-of-wedlock child), dinosaurs bones, the speed of light, and anything else that forces them to think abstractly.”
Has it ever gotten violent?
“No, they’re terrified of physical confrontation, the police are there to protect the Westboros from everyone else, not the other way around. To be honest though I’d love to be the first person they ever assaulted, both for the YouTube hits, and because none of them seem to have very much upper body strength.”
What happened after that first protest?
“I was shocked to learn that the video went viral. Suddenly I was being featured in all these blogs and news sites, including the Huffington Post and the Alyona Show (a prime time basic cable news show on RT). I ended up flying out with my friend Jordan to Virginia and New York just because I had more ideas for screwing with them.”
Have you considered making fun of other hate groups?
“A promoter I was working with suggested I do the same at a KKK rally. However, other people, specifically my mother and grandmothers, disagreed with this idea. To be honest I’d love to but most crazy hateful people don’t have websites where they announce which street corner they’ll be screaming from.”
Do you do it because you disagree with their message or because you want to get the attention that comes with attacking them?
“Well I am first and foremost a comedian, but that isn’t to say I don’t mean every word I say to them, and thoroughly enjoy the frustration I inspire. I don’t think of it as just taking on a small group of fringe maniacs, but using them as a way of ridiculing all homophobics, anti-semites, and fanatics in general.”
(You can see Sirus’ counter-protest videos at www.godhatesbrickstone.com)